Eight weeks of preparation will culminate with Ceres High students performing the stage play “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds” this week in the school’s newly-renovated small gym/auditorium.
The drama department’s last scheduled on-campus theater performance show of “Harvey” was canceled during the 2018-19 academic year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re going to be doing our first big play since COVID started two years ago,” said Stephen Dias, CHS drama teacher. “The kids are excited. They’ve been working hard.”
“I’m really excited because we couldn’t do our fall show because of renovations,” said Haley McGovney, a fourth-year drama student. “This is going to be my last show. It’s so fun to work on the set and get close with everybody.”
“The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds” stage play was written by Paul Zindel in 1964.
“It’s a show I’ve always wanted to do,” Dias said. “It’s about a mom with two daughters who’s had a lot of disappointment in her life and takes it out on them. It requires some pretty deep acting.”
“It’s a very deep piece,” added McGovney. “It’s dark, realistic and relatable to a lot of people.”
McGovney (Ruth Hunsdorfer), Lilliana Nance (Tillie Hunsdorfer), Emily Parker (Beatrice Hunsdorfer), Berlin Kahl (Nanny) and Sienna Standley (Janice Vickery) make up the cast.
Nance and Parker will play lead characters.
McGovney, Kahl and Standley are supporting actors.
“It would be harder for me to play a role I wasn’t passionate about,” McGovney said. “There’s so much depth to her character.”
Show times are this Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. and on Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Admission is $8 for evening shows and $6 for matinee. Doors open 20 minutes before the play begins.
The show contains mature themes.
The $6.3 million Ceres High small gym/auditorium renovation project was completed in 18 months.
Interior upgrades included installing new stage curtains and lighting, audio/video equipment, a control room, LED lighting, electrical service, fixtures and a sound system. Classrooms, locker rooms and restrooms were also brought up to date.
Built in 1908, building received an exterior renovation as well.
The modernized facility will continue to provide an on-campus option for music/theater performances and accommodate athletics in a modernized space. In addition, classrooms will be used for performing arts courses and other instructional needs.
“They updated everything,” Dias said.
“They spent a lot of money,” McGovney said. “It’s going to make the show better.”